Judge ousted for jailing people in courtroom over ringing cell phone

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

A New York judge who jailed a courtroom full of people over a ringing cell phone is now off the bench.

Judge Robert Restaino was removed yesterday by a state judicial panel.

During a court session in March 2005, Restaino got upset when a cell phone went off. He demanded that the phone be handed over, threatening to lock up everybody if no one came forward.

When nobody did, the judge ordered all 46 people in the room hauled off to the city jail where they were searched. Those who couldn't post bond were shackled and bused to the county lockup.
Later that day, the judge let everybody go after being told reporters were calling.

The chairman of the New York judicial commission says Restaino "snapped" during what he describes as "two hours of inexplicable madness."

Restaino says he had been under some stress in his personal life. His lawyer says he plans to appeal.


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